Wed, Apr 04, 2018 - Page 14 News List

Six varieties of spring tea to enjoy in season
春暖花開正是品茶好時機 春茶種類有這些

Six varieties of spring tea, clockwise from the 12 o’clock position: Tieguanyin (Iron Goddess) tea, Sijichun tea, Oolong tea, Oriental Beauty tea, Pouchong tea and high-mountain tea.

Photo: Liberty Times

What is spring tea?

During the period from the Qingming Festival to the summer solstice (mid-March to early May), moderate temperatures, abundant rainfall, and the tea trees’ recuperation during autumn and winter make tea leaves particularly green and aromatic. Therefore, tea leaves harvested in the spring are called “spring tea,” and embody the refreshing taste unique to the season. April and May is the best time to taste spring tea.

Varieties and origins of spring tea

Oolong tea: Lightly fermented and lightly roasted, it retains more of the original taste and light floral fragrance of the leaves. Dong Ding Oolong tea, produced in Nantou County’s Lugu Township, is one of the best-known varieties of oolong tea.

High-mountain tea: The essence of high-mountain tea is that the tea tree absorbs the nutrients in the soil which produces a unique-tasting tea liquor. The specific composition of the soil of each area produces different-tasting teas. Tea grown at middle altitudes below 1000m has milder taste; while tea grown at altitudes higher than 1000m has a stronger flavor. The main tea varieties are Alishan high-mountain tea and Lishan high-mountain tea.

Pouchong tea: It is said to be the most typical of Taiwan’s specialty teas. Pouchong tea leaves have a striped appearance and are emerald green in color. It has a sweet and mellow aroma. Its most important quality is the aroma — the more aromatic the better the quality. The main product is Wenshan Pouchong tea grown in the north of Taiwan.

Sijichun tea: It is the most common tea variety in Taiwan, which has high chill resistance and a distinct aroma. Its name Sijichun (lit. four-season spring) comes from its short winter dormancy and seven-to-eight harvests per year. The main production areas of Sijichun are Taipei’s Muzha District, Nantou’s Mingjian Township.


1. oolong tea phr.

烏龍茶 (wu1 long2 cha2)

2. fermented adj.

發酵 (fa1 xiao4)

3. high-mountain tea phr.

高山茶 (gao1 shan1 cha2)

4. aroma n.

香氣 (xiang1 qi4)

5. oriental beauty tea phr.

東方美人茶 (dong1 fang1 mei3 ren2 cha2)

6. oxidation n.

氧化 (yang3 hua4)

Tieguanyin (Iron Goddess) tea: The complicated production process gives this kind of tea curled, tight, and heavy leaves with frost-like white traces. Tieguanyin tea has a strong and lasting aroma and the tea liquor has a rich golden color. New Taipei City’s Shimen District is the main growing area for Tieguanyin tea.

Oriental Beauty tea: It is Taiwan’s unique tea variety, also known as White Tip Oolong tea or Pom-fong tea. It is grown without pesticides to encourage a common pest, the tea green leafhopper, to suck the nutrient in the tips. The insect bites start the oxidation of the leaves and tips, and add a sweet note to the tea. The main places of origin are Hsinchu’s Beipu Township and Emei Township, and New Taipei City’s Shiding District and Pinglin District.

How to store tea

The main way to preserve tea leaves is to store them inside a sealed container. Places with moisture and smells are the worst place to store tea — such as in the refrigerator — which can damage the quality of the tea. Tea leaves are usually stored at room temperature in the airtight container that came with the tea when purchased, or in an aftermarket airtight tea container. It is best to finish the tea before the best before date.

(Liberty Times, translated by Lin Lee-kai)






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